UK campaigners lose 'right to die' legal battle

Campaigners lost their bid to overturn a ban on doctors helping seriously ill people to die in England and Wales on Wednesday.

The case was brought by Paul Lamb, who was paralysed in a road accident 20 years ago and now requires 24-hour care. He now wants the legal right to end his life with the help of a medic.

He lodged the case alongside Jane Nicklinson, whose husband Tony had Locked-in Syndrome but died in 2012, a week after losing a previous legal battle to secure the right to die.

Their lawyers had argued that a ban on was incompatible with the right to respect for private and family life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

While the Supreme Court in London did not rule in their favour, five of the nine senior judges said they did have the power to declare that a blanket ban on assisted suicide was incompatible with the convention.

Two went further, saying they would have made such a ruling.

"I am very proud of myself. I know it is going to change," Lamb said after the judgement.

The court also dismissed a challenge from a severely disabled man identified only as Martin that the chief prosecutor for England and Wales should rewrite guidance on prosecutions relating to a similar issue.

Currently, people who help others to die face jail sentences of up to 14 years.

But there have been a string of legal challenges to the status quo in recent years amid growing pressure for a change in the law, which is resisted by religious groups.

The House of Lords—Britain's unelected second chamber of parliament—is to debate a bill that would legalise assisted dying next month but it has little chance of becoming law.

Related Stories

UK court rules against euthanasia (Update)

date Jul 31, 2013

A British appeals court upheld a law against euthanasia in rejecting appeals from two severely disabled men who argued that doctors should be allowed to legally kill them.

UK denies right-to-die legal challenge (Update)

date Aug 16, 2012

(AP) — Britain's High Court on Thursday rejected an attempt by a man who has locked-in syndrome to overturn the country's euthanasia law by refusing to legally allow doctors to end his life.

British court: Right-to-die case can proceed

date Mar 12, 2012

(AP) -- In a case that challenges Britain's definition of murder, a severely disabled man who says his life has no "privacy or dignity" will be granted a hearing on his request that a doctor be allowed to ...

Recommended for you

Cardinal Health paying $26.8 million in FTC settlement

date 20 hours ago

Cardinal Health will pay $26.8 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it monopolized the sale in 25 markets of diagnostic drugs known as low-energy radiopharmaceuticals.

Selecting the right tool for the job

date Apr 14, 2015

Randomized clinical trials of new drugs have long been considered the "gold standard" in determining safety and efficacy before drugs, biologics, vaccines or devices are introduced to the general public. However, in the case ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.